Good news on the DISD front: The district reports that the number of "exemplary" DISD schools is likely to nearly double this year, and the number of "recognized" schools also is likely to double, once final TAKS test numbers are tabulated. According to the district, and as reported in the Morning News today, DISD students improved over last year’s performance in every subject tested except writing. All good news and indications that DISD’s recent stability of leadership is beginning to have an impact on student performance. A number of neighborhood schools turn up on the top two lists, including Lakewood, Sanger, Mt. Auburn, Lee, Reinhardt, Roberts, Hexter and Stonewall elementaries.

Of course, as with any DISD story, the news isn’t all good: The number of unacceptable (the worst ranking) schools also has fallen from 26 last year to 20 right now, but that number could increase due to tighter regulations on counting drop-outs. And as DISD president Jack Lowe pointed out, the TAKS is primarily a baseline test and the results don’t necessarily demonstrate that students are college- or workforce-ready.

Bottom line, though, is that progress is being made. As discussed in earlier Back Talk posts, if DISD can keep its executive leadership together another five to 10 years, there’s an excellent chance that things will become even better. Unfortunately, that’s a big "if" if recent DISD political history is any indication.

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